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BUSINESS
October 31, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The weirdest thing about the ongoing conniption about the cancellation of people's health insurance plans -- supposedly as a result of Obamacare -- is the notion that these are plans people liked, even loved. When did that happen?  It wasn't so long ago -- months, even weeks -- when the health insurance companies were being roundly cursed for their ruthless mistreatment of individual health plan customers. Constant rate hikes. Cancellations after policyholders got sick. Endless hoops to jump through to file a claim or appeal a rejection.
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BUSINESS
October 30, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Deborah Cavallaro is a hard-working real estate agent in the Westchester suburb of Los Angeles who has been featured prominently on a round of news shows lately, talking about how badly Obamacare is going to cost her when her existing plan gets canceled and she has to find a replacement. She says she's angry at President Obama for having promised that people who like their health plans could keep them, when hers is getting canceled for not meeting Obamacare's standards.  "Please explain to me," she told Maria Bartiromo on CNBC Wednesday, "how my plan is a 'substandard' plan when ... I'd be paying more for the exchange plans than I am currently paying by a wide margin.
BUSINESS
October 24, 2013 | David Lazarus
You really should get a flu shot. But if you get one at a drugstore, you might find yourself wondering whether they're playing fast and loose with people's insurance coverage so the company can score some extra cash. Paul Rubenstein, 39, has faced such a possibility for two years. The Mar Vista resident is insured by Anthem Blue Cross. His wife is insured by Health Net. Last year, they went to a local CVS store for flu shots. The pharmacy worker ran both their insurance cards through the computer and said that neither insurer was covering vaccinations.
BUSINESS
October 23, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Insurance giant WellPoint Inc., a key player in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, said it remains optimistic about the healthcare expansion despite the rocky start of a federal insurance exchange. WellPoint's chief executive, Joseph Swedish, and other industry executives are meeting Wednesday with White House officials about continuing problems with the 36-state federal insurance marketplace and its troubled healthcare.gov website. Many consumers have been unable to log in and get basic information about their insurance options since enrollment began Oct. 1. The nation's second-largest health insurer also released third-quarter results Wednesday.
BUSINESS
October 17, 2013 | David Lazarus
There is perhaps no better metaphor for the painful relationship between patients and our for-profit healthcare system than the fact that Anthem Blue Cross thinks you don't need anesthesia for a colonoscopy. It's not "medically necessary," the insurer says. Anyone who has experienced this most invasive of medical procedures might think otherwise. I spoke the other day with a fellow named Michael, who works locally in the TV industry but didn't want me using his full name because he's terrified that Anthem will retaliate by messing with his coverage (and it says a lot about our system that this is even a consideration)
BUSINESS
October 1, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
For all the fuss over Obamacare -- the president's plan to extend health coverage to about 30 million Americans -- Southern California health providers were fielding only a smattering of questions on Tuesday, the first day of enrollment. Supporters of the President's healthcare program are hoping for a big response from the uninsured in California, hoping it could help quiet the reform effort's many critics and persuade other states to embrace the reforms. Officials at Covered California, the agency overseeing the state's health insurance exchange, have a goal of signing up more than 2 million people through next year, the most of any state.
BUSINESS
August 30, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Californians can now see specific rates from competing health plans on a new state-run insurance market set to open Oct. 1. Covered California, the new state marketplace, launched an online feature Thursday enabling consumers to get detailed price comparisons for their area for the first time. Previously, the state's online calculator gave general estimates of statewide premiums without any comparison of different plans and prices. Story gallery: Healthcare law comes to California Starting in January, health insurance premiums will be based on a person's age and location.
BUSINESS
August 12, 2013 | David Lazarus
Jennifer Frankenberg recently learned that she had been approved to receive much-needed health insurance from Anthem Blue Cross. She also learned that she'd been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions. All in the same day. On one level, this is a fairly routine story of corporate incompetence. But it's also a stark illustration of what's currently wrong with our healthcare system and some of the ways that the healthcare reform law, for all its imperfections, addresses these problems.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
California signed contracts with 12 health insurers for its new state-run marketplace, but the Ventura County Health Care Plan unexpectedly dropped out. Covered California, which is implementing the federal healthcare law in the state, said it supported Ventura County's decision to opt out next year and that it welcomes a subsequent bid for 2015. The exchange said it will now provide three health plans -- Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California -- to Ventura County residents.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2013 | Chad Terhune
For years, Kaiser Permanente has won accolades for delivering high-quality care at an affordable price. The Oakland company's unique HMO model kept a lid on costs, and big employers flocked to enroll their workers to the point that Kaiser has become the largest health plan in California, grabbing more than 40% of the market. Now, some of Kaiser's biggest customers are complaining that the company is no longer a bargain and, even worse, standing in the way of controlling healthcare costs.
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